Okay, everybody stop, take a breath. Perhaps smile. Reforms to New York state's draconian Rockefeller drug laws have gone into effect today. State authorities have identified about 1,100 inmates who are eligible to apply for resentencing now -- I've also seen the figure 1,500 cited. The Legal Aid Society is already working with 270 of them. It isn't nearly enough. Our article published just before the legislation passed last April outlines some of its deficiencies. If all of those 1,100 gain earlier release than they would have gotten, that will leave another 13,000, and resentencing doesn't mean they'll all get out right away. Of course, the limited scope of the reforms passed by the legislature didn't stop prosecutors from trying to block their implementation. But they failed. This is the second time the legislature has modified the Rockefeller laws -- the first time was in 2004 -- and yet most of the work still lies ahead of us. But 1,100 people, potentially, will have their lives transformed, and another chink has been made in the drug war wall of injustice. To once again make use of a Churchill quote that drug reformers have used before: "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning." In the meanwhile, watch this video:
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